When Staple Singers patriarch Roebuck "Pop" Staples died eight years ago, Mavis Staples lost not only her father but also the rudder of her musical career and the guitarist whose signature vibrato sound served as a crucial component of her whole aesthetic.
This new disc, recorded before a live audience of awed Chicago hipsters at the Hideout, underscores the irreplaceable contributions of Staples's father as she struggles through a set of inspirational tunes from the Staple Singers songbook. This material should be second nature, but the sloppy band sound like they're learning the songs as they go.
The few times they manage to lock into a groove or strike the right feel to match the intended tone of a song seem to occur completely by accident, since they're often scrambling to keep up with Staples, who at times just goes off on her own.
Instead of a crowning achievement, Hope At The Hideout turns out to be a half-?assed hootenanny.